10-31-21 By Craig W. Toth (aka @bucsbasement on Twitter)
Your Pittsburgh Pirates last took the field a full four weeks ago from today-October 31st, which means Happy Halloween!-after a nightmare (pun intended) of a season. Since that time it has been near radio silence, outside of some Minor League Awards being announced. In a way, it’s been like the Major League Club has ceased to exist.
That was until a couple of days ago, when Cherington came out of hibernation long enough to tell us that we will have a minimum of 5 days at this point until the start of free agency, that the third base coach-as well as the Triple A Manager-will more than likely be filled internally and interviews to fill the vacant hitting coach position have started to take place; but only with candidates that aren’t currently with a team.
When it comes to free agency, Ben alluded to making the same types of signings we have seen from the Pirates each of the past two off-seasons; much like I concluded on the most recent episode of Bucs In The Basement , and Gary wrote about in a recent Pirates 5 Thoughts At 5. Yeah, they are having a “dialogue” with Yoshi and his people; but in all honesty, why wouldn’t they? No other team can negotiate with him now anyway. Might as well toss around some numbers to gauge if they in the same ballpark, or a little too far apart thanks to his breakout month in Pittsburgh; which truthfully, I’m not totally sold on.
As I have mentioned before, in his first time facing the Pirates NL Central Foes-the Reds and Cubs-Yoshi went 9 for 25, which works out to a .360 AVG; all while smacking 3 homers, drawing 3 walks and only striking out on 5 occasions. The second time around he managed only 4 hits in 24 at bats-good for a .167 AVG-with 0 homers, 2 walks and 10 strike outs. Both obviously being small sample sizes, but somewhat telling in what these two ball clubs were able to pick up concerning Tsutsugo’s tendencies in a short period of time.
Just something to consider concerning the only real bit of news to come from the Pirates Office; or at least the only information fans seem to be receptive to.
Now this, as we all know, is the calm before the storm, with more than just posturing, presumptions, predictions and projections set to take place. Real, honest to goodness roster moves are on the way. Ones that some teams have chosen to spread out over the past month; while the Pirates on the other hand, have not made a Major League Transaction since the 5th of October. Sure, they don’t necessarily have to make any moves prior to the official start of the MLB off-season, just like they don’t have to hire coaching replacements yet; still, it’s kind of frustrating not to have any definitive movement on any front.
Other teams have started to trim the fat off their rosters-of which the Pirates have plenty-in preparation for their impending 40-Man Roster Crunches. Apparently, Cherington and his brain trust did meet for a few days this past week to discuss general roster construction and possible decisions concerning Rule 5 eligible players; so I guess, there’s that. Although, when I think about it, I genuinely don’t know why I am being so impatient.
Maybe it’s the choices concerning Rule 5 and Arbitration finally being made, after talking about them for so long. Maybe it’s the month with any Pirates news. Or, maybe-and most likely-it’s the ever approaching eye of the storm, that arrives on December 1st; with all the uncertainty and anxiety that will certainly surround it.
At this moment, every ball club in the Majors will virtually disappear from the landscape as MLB and the MLBPA take their spots at center stage.
For how long. and to what end? No one knows. Therein lies the true nightmare.